Henry Bloom Noble Healthcare Trust funded a visit to the world’s most successful recovery community for mental health nursing student Julia Furner, to learn more about its approach to treating addiction and how it could benefit the Isle of Man.
Julia, who graduated as a mental health nurse in July 2017, visited San Patrignano in Italy for eight days during April of her final year.
The recovery community, the largest in the world, replicates a mini society of 1,500 people all suffering from drug addiction, living and working together to recover. Behaviour among the residents is governed by one main principle - respect for oneself and respect for the others. Therefore no violence is accepted and contact between people of the opposite sex is limited to those who are mature enough to be sensitive towards the other party.
The programme is a minimum of three years and free, but to be accepted the residents must be able to illustrate they are ready to change. Everyone must work during their stay, meaning they leave the community considerably more employable, with new skills and a vocational qualification.
Julia said: ‘San Patrignano is something that I am extremely passionate about, and I can’t thank Henry Bloom Noble Healthcare Trust enough for helping to fund my trip.
‘To have a 72% success rate in treating addiction is phenomenal, especially when you consider how difficult it is to recover from. I was keen to go and see the most successful recovery community in the world with my own eyes.
‘My mornings were spent in lectures, where we were taught about the model San Patrignano uses and why it is effective, while the second half of my days were spent living in the community and getting to know the residents. I ate with them, worked with them, participated in leisure activities with them; it was a great way to experience the recovery community.
‘The trip provided me with a completely different outlook on addiction, as unlike the Western culture which tends to focus on harm reduction, San Patrignano gets results through abstinence, rules and structure. I learned an incredible amount from my short time there.’
After her trip Julia was invited to present to the Henry Bloom Noble Healthcare trustees on her experience, and asked to consider how the Trust could assist further in bringing the lessons learned from her trip to the Island.
Trust Chairman Terry Groves said: ‘Julia is a very impressive young woman, and an asset to the Island’s team of mental health nurses. Her presentation was not only highly professional and interesting, it provided the trustees with food for thought for treating addiction in the Isle of Man. We are pleased to have given her the opportunity to visit such a fascinating community.’
The Trust, established in 1888 by the Island’s greatest benefactor, Henry Bloom Noble, in memory of his wife Rebecca, supports the provision of high-quality healthcare in the Isle of Man.
Thanks to the generosity of donors and benefactors, the Trust continues that work by funding the provision of new equipment, training and education, research and measures to improve conditions in hospitals, care homes and at home for convalescing patients, the sick, disabled, handicapped and infirm people.
The Trust is always open to applications for financial assistance, and thoroughly considers all proposals presented to the trustees. To find out more about applying for funding, visit: www.hbnhealthcaretrust.org.im
Photograph one: Julia (fifth person on the first row - standing up) with residents
Photograph two: Photograph showing the close bond between residents who will stay in touch and support each other for the rest of their lives - taken by Julia